In Memoriam: Walter Schwede

Emeritus Professor of Music taught violin at Western for more than 20 years
Walter Schwede

Western Washington University Emeritus Professor of Music Walter Schwede passed away on June 19, surrounded by his family and friends. He retired in 2018 after teaching Western's students for more than 20 years.

In 1997, Schwede began his more than two decades of service to Western's students, and helped shape the institution's string instrument program. He was an active chamber musician, organized concerts throughout Washington schools, and taught at music camps and festivals around the country, including Marrowstone and the Meadowmount School of Music. He became associate concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony in 1984 and also served as concertmaster of the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Seattle Opera, notably for Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

Walter Schwede's musical legacy lives on. His colleagues recall his musicianship, cowboy hats, and sense of humor, and his students remember him as a passionate and inspiring mentor.

Tim Fitzpatrick, the current WWU Music Department Chair, recalls working with Walter's violin students as a collaborative pianist in 1997. 

"Walt was a master pedagogue and performer and could casually pick up his instrument to demonstrate the most difficult passagework with incredible accuracy and musicianship. He was always engaged and good-humored while being kind, yet direct, in his instruction of his pupils; they loved him for it," Fitzpatrick said.

Read more about Schwede's life and career here.